Money Management Articles
Business or hobby? Why the difference matters
Were you aware that there are tax implications when you earn money from a
hobby? If not, or if you're unsure of all the rules, the Minnesota
Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these insights on why the distinctions
between hobbies and businesses matter and what you need to know if your
hobby becomes a business.
Finding ways to cut your phone budget
When looking for ways to save, consider rethinking your phone bills. The
Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers this advice on how to become a
savvy consumer when it comes to budgeting your phone service.
Being financially prepared for college
Many parents consider sending a child to college an important financial
objective. The College Board reports for a public in-state four-year
college, the average tuition for 2014-15 was $9,139. If room and board
was included, the average annual education cost was $18,942.
Don't fight over finances!
When couples argue, what are they most likely to fight about? You might
not be surprised to learn that, according to a Harris Interactive survey
on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs, money is the top reason
for a marital spat, one that causes disagreements far more frequently
than other critical issues.
Get out of debt (and stay out)
On average, American households have about $15,000 of credit card debt,
according to NerdWallet. If you're struggling to pay off your
outstanding balances, or if you're tired of high interest costs, the
Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) explains the best ways to get out from
under those bills.
Who's teaching your kids about money?
If you think your children aren't learning about money because you're
not teaching it, think again. While savvy marketers are telling our
kindergartners that they need a certain toy to be happy, credit card
companies are peddling instant gratification to our teens.
5 tips to quickly pay off student loan debt
Struggling with student loans? You're not alone.
Fraud prevention for seniors
While seniors make up 11 percent of the population, they represent 30
percent of consumer fraud and 50 percent of telephone fraud. The
Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers the following fraud prevention
tips for seniors.
Don't let unexpected costs ruin your retirement!
How much do you need to save for retirement? Determining how much you'll
spend on housing, food and other fixed expenses may seem relatively
easy, but how about the costs that come out of the blue?
Resolving financial concerns for stepfamilies
Roughly 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day, according to the
Stepfamily Foundation. And, 41 percent of all Americans have at least
one step relative, based on Pew Research Center findings.
IRA early withdrawal exceptions
Choosing an early withdrawal from your IRA can be a costly move, often
resulting in unfavorable consequences such as tax penalties and loss of
Planning for retirement has many taxing issues
Individuals today have much greater responsibility in funding their
retirement plans -- a responsibility that can become overwhelming as the
life expectancy continues to climb.
10 ways to maximize Social Security benefits
For most Americans, Social Security retirement benefits typically
represent 30 to 60 percent of their retirement income and, yet,
according to the National Social Security Association,,LLC, more than 90
percent of Social Security recipients receive less money than to which
they are entitled.
Answers to tax questions for the self-employed
Will 2015 be the year when you take the leap into self-employment? Even
if you're going to start out small with an office in a spare bedroom,
there are some important tax issues you should keep in mind before you
take the plunge.
Tax solutions for baby boomers
The baby boom generation, the children born in the post-World War II
years between 1946 and 1964, includes about 76 million people. Now that
generation is heading into retirement, with roughly 10,000 boomers
expected to retire every day between now and 2030.
Four last-minute tips to lower your taxes
Now that the New Year has begun, April 15 will be here before you know
it. Have you done all you can to minimize your tax payments and maximize
prudent financial planning? If you're not sure, there's still time to
make some smart choices before you file this year's tax return.
5 financial mistakes to avoid this year
Are you satisfied with the financial decisions you made in 2014? If
you're not so sure, this is a good time to resolve to make some changes
Beware before you buy: 6 considerations for kids' cell phones
Have your kids started asking for cell phones or mobile devices of
their own? Usage of mobile devices is growing among the younger set. In
fact, 45 percent of parents say they have already purchased or plan to
purchase mobile devices for their kids.
How to give wisely during the holidays and beyond
Have the holidays made you feel more generous? Nonprofit organizations
report receiving 41 percent of their donations between Thanksgiving and
New Year's each year, according to Charity Navigator, and their overall
charitable contributions are significant.
What you should know about timeshares
Now that the holidays are upon us, many people dream of taking a
tropical vacation or spending time near a popular attraction. If you're
shopping for a getaway, you may have considered a timeshare, an
arrangement that generally gives you the right to stay at a certain
property for a specified amount of time each year.
Low or no-cost gift ideas
With costs expected to rise this year, the MNCPA is offering shoppers some tips for saving money on gifts while still making the holidays memorable.
College and taxes: MNCPA outlines the importance of determining who takes the dependency deduction -- parent or student?
If you or a member of your household is a college student or returned to
school for additional training in the past year, there are important tax
considerations to discuss with your CPA as you organize your state and
federal income tax return information for 2014, advises the Minnesota
Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA).
Are you ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and new credit cards with chips?
If you are like many holiday shoppers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday
may be when you buy your gifts. According to the National Retail
Federation, U.S. Black Friday retail sales for 2013 totaled $57 billion,
down from $59 billion in 2012. For 2013, this averaged to $407 per
person in spending.
How to handle an unexpected job loss
Nowadays, when it comes to longevity within the workplace, nothing is
guaranteed. How do you prepare if faced with an unexpected job loss?
What is your plan B? Consider these five tips for preparing and coping
with your financial loss.
Don't make these common IRA mistakes!
About 40 percent of U.S. households -- nearly 50 million -- own
individual retirement accounts, which provide tax-advantaged options for
saving for your retirement years. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA)
offers the following tips on how to avoid some common mistakes people
make when managing IRAs.
Five disaster planning steps for small businesses
Could your business bounce back if a disaster occurred? A minimum of 25
percent of small to midsize businesses that close temporarily due to a
natural or other disaster ultimately never open their doors again,
according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. It is possible
to weather any type of business interruption, however, only if you're
Year-end tax planning for 2014
Where has the time gone? We are approaching the final months of 2014,
but, before you start thinking about holiday shopping, consider year-end
tax planning and preparation. With proper tax planning, you can
maximize your potential tax savings and minimize your tax liability.
Medical coverage while traveling overseas
While the summer vacation season has passed, thousands of people travel
overseas each day for business, school or pleasure. However, few
consider that their medical insurance coverage might be less than
expected or, even worse, nonexistent.
Financing a return to college
You’ve advanced on the job, but you think that finishing or enhancing your college degree would help you go further.
Financial fitness advice for freshmen
As you get ready to go away to college for the first time, this is a
good time to expand your knowledge of day-to-day money management,
including smart budgeting and debt management steps.
9 ways to trim your back-to-school budget
The National Retail Federation predicts combined spending for back to
school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion, or $669.28 per
family on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, an increase of 5
percent from last year.
Your midyear financial tune up
Did you start the beginning of the year by making smart resolutions to
get your finances in order? Now that the year is half over, it's a good
time to check in and see how you're doing.
Tips for starting a small business
The 23 million small businesses in this country are responsible for 54
percent of all U.S. sales, according to the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA). Do you ever dream of launching your own company?
If you do, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice to help you
get off on the right foot.
Save money on your vacation
Are you planning to take a family vacation this summer? If so, it could become a pricey proposition.
Five ways to save on moving costs
About 36 million people, or 11.7 percent of Americans, moved between
2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you're in the
process of moving, you're probably juggling a lot of tasks, including
worrying about the potentially high costs.
Keeping a lid on wedding costs
Can you have a memorable wedding day without breaking the bank?
Absolutely. Even though the average wedding costs nearly $30,000,
according to TheKnot.com, many happy couples have joyous celebrations
for far less money.
Five ways to set yourself up for a secure retirement
Approximately 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day until around
2030. If you're part of that group, or if you're planning ahead for a
comfortable retirement, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public
Accountants (MNCPA) offers this advice for securing your financial
Most common tax mistakes, overlooked tax opportunities
Each year, according to the IRS, millions of taxpayers make mathematical
errors on their individual tax returns and miss opportunities to take
Putting miscellaneous deductions to work
Now that you're just about ready to file your tax return, are you sure
you claimed all the deductions that you're due? Most Americans know that
they can deduct items such as charitable donations, mortgage interest
and property taxes.
Minnesota's new gift tax sparks questions for taxpayers
As part of a campaign to educate taxpayers on confusing, challenging and
emerging tax issues, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public
Accountants (MNCPA) offers filers important reminders and considerations
related to Minnesota's new state gift tax.
Five tax tips for the unemployed
If you find yourself out of work, taxes may be the last thing you want
to think about; but it's important to continue your tax and other
financial planning, even when you're unemployed.
Do's and don'ts for paying your tax bill
About three-quarters of individual taxpayers received refunds last year,
according to Internal Revenue Service statistics. However, many people
find that they do owe taxes when April 15 comes around. If you fall into
that group, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these
recommendations on the best way to settle your bill.
MNCPA issues list of strange and unusual tax deductions
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) recently
conducted its annual CPA member survey about the most strange and
unusual tax deductions proposed by clients. Responses included
everything from pets and wedding rings to gifts not given.
What you should know about taxes and Social Security benefits
Will your tax bill this year include taxes on your Social Security
benefits? About 55 million people receive monthly Social Security
payments and some of them pay taxes on up to 85 percent of those
benefits, depending on their financial situation.
Five steps to achieving your financial goals
What do you want to do now, or next year, or five or 10 years down the
road? This is the time of year when people step back and consider where
they stand and how close they are to achieving long-held goals. No
matter what your objectives, there's no doubt that a sound financial
plan will put you in a better position to achieve them, according to the
Minnesota Society of CPAs.
2013 tax changes that may surprise taxpayers
With significant changes made to the federal and Minnesota tax rules in
2013, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA)
would like to remind taxpayers of the importance of tax planning and
understanding how the new rules affect their respective tax situations.
College students home for the holidays? Discuss practical tax decisions
The winter holiday break provides a great opportunity for parents and
college students to decide who claims whom on their 2013 federal and
state tax returns. Surprisingly, it's not just limited to minor
Retirement road blocks for baby boomers
From now until 2030, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day,
according to the Pew Research Center. This large generation, born
between 1946 and 1964, has had a huge impact on American culture and
society, and that remains the same as they head into retirement.
'Tis the season for charitable contributions
Along with an avalanche of catalogues and holiday greetings from family
and friends, you may also find your mailbox inundated with donation
requests from charitable organizations.
How can you cut next year's taxes?
Taxes may be the last thing you want to think about at the holidays, but
the end of the year is a great time to take some smart steps that can
help you minimize your future tax outlays. The Minnesota Society of
Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides these ideas for keeping
more money in your pocket.
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